So KISS are finally getting into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, huh? Well, congratulations to the guys. There's no band more deserving of the honour than Kiss. I mean, anyone can run off the statistics (Kisstistics) to prove the point -- 100-million albums sold, 28 gold albums, 13 platinum albums over 40 years. The only Rock bands with as impressive a CV are The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, undoubtedly esteemed company.
However, despite their achievements, the band have been perpetually pelted with critical disdain. Quickly written off as a circus sideshow/children's act by naysayers, it culminated into a 15-year blockade from induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame when these over-valued critics rose to the post of Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame juror. Kiss' snub only helped enforce the growing belief that The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame is nothing more than a magnified version of the high school cafeteria, where seating arrangements are determined by who's cool and who's not.
And through it all, despite being unable to keep a stiff upper lip at times, the band have been as gracious as one can be after having been subjected to a lifetime of these ticks nipping at their heels. Imagine watching bands that you took out as your opening act, like Rush and AC/DC, get their acclamations, invites and induction before you, even though you clearly deserved it first. Paul (Stanley) and Gene (Simmons) have had a successful enough career to not have that keep them up at night but it does say a lot about how certain musics are unfairly viewed within the industry.
Even though it's appropriated the genre for its name, The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame doesn't exactly comply to the guidelines of what is generally deemed to be Rock & Roll. Taking license with the term "Rock & Roll" has allowed them to induct acts like The Bee Gees, Madonna, Donna Summer, Jimmy Cliff and now Hall & Oates into their fame hall. If anything, it's allowed the general public an embarrassing inside look at how tampered with these trophy ceremonies inevitably become. (See here.)
Even though they are finally being allowed into a club that accepted The Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Mellencamp, The Beastie Boys, R.E.M. and Van Halen prior to them, I've always relished Kiss' outsider status in Rock. When I was in school, I proudly drew a giant Kiss logo on my school bag even though I knew I was going to be ridiculed for it. I confidently wore it like a badge of honour having learned to listen to music with my ears rather than my eyes before puberty, unlike most of my peers then and music industry insiders now.
Outwardly I might've rolled my eyes and groaned every time their R&R Hall Of Fame slight got mentioned but secretly, I loved it! For Kiss Army members like me, their snub was noble. For even today could a band with countless accolades and worldwide reverence be snubbed by the same people who looked down on us for festooning their logo on our jackets and schoolbags. It was an adolescent fracas played out in the adult world. Their rejection was collectively worn by all Kiss Army members proudly on our sleeves and let's be frank, gave us all a target to vent our frustration.
But now Kiss are getting inducted.
Fine. I mean, they should, right? We always knew the band wanted to be invited but wouldn't it have been awe-inspiring if they finally told these over-the-hill tastemakers to shove it, like if the misfit sucker-punched the quarterback in the nutsack? It would've been the checkmate move that just might've seen the original four members raptured into the heavens. A repudiation of this overdue acknowledgement could've just been what was needed to make their talismans glow anew before the four precious stones locked together in a fiery phoenix setting the night sky ablaze with the message "Suck It" for all to see up in the stars for a thousand moons. It would've been an affirmation of all that real Rock & Roll stands for. It would've been glorious.
Look, Paul, Gene, Peter, Ace, Bruce, Vinnie, Mark, Tommy and the two Erics, I'm glad you guys are getting inducted. Congratulations, fellows. You all deserve it. I've been in love with your band since I was six years old so it's nice to see others recognize you too. I just thought, you know, being from outer space, a feline manimal, demon, ankh warrior and a starchild, trinkets and invites meant little to you. I also thought that perhaps, like Groucho, you wouldn't want any part of a club that would have you as members.
I know you need to do this and I know, regardless of its staff, the hall induction is most esteemed but who am I gonna champion as my outsider/popular band now?
Wait a minute, why isn't Deep Purple in the Hall too?
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